HOUSTON — Shipping containers get all sorts of uses these days, but Texas A&M students are working together to “BUILD” something very special.

“Mobile medical clinics out of shipping containers,” A&M senior Abby Launikitis, of Cypress, said.

She’s this year’s CEO of the student-run organization actually called BUILD.

It grew from an idea to unify the campus through a work project after the bonfire collapse tragedy.

“And we’ve done containers ever since then,” said Launikitis. “I believe after this fall we will have finished 32 containers.

A shipping container clinic was dedicated in Jordan earlier this year while others serve various needs in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras and elsewhere.

“Maybe it’s a shot clinic, maybe it’s a full medical exam room, maybe they just use the container as an educational opportunity,” said COO and mechanical engineering student Roger Stark. “A base to have other programs out of.”

Volunteers build out the containers every fall semester while planning and raising money in the spring and summer.

A&M provides a construction site. However, the $100,000 annual goal comes entirely from donations.

“That’s why we love doing these interviews because one of our biggest donors this year hears about us through a Texas A&M magazine,” said CFO and graduate student Ivan Rivas.

A number of shipping container clinics recently supplemented hospitals dealing with spikes in COVID cases.

And a project currently in the works will help provide resources to folks even closer to home.

Clinics will serve support staff who work on the A&M campus who might not have access to ideal medical care.

“We like to say we’re “employed” by BUILD,” said Launikitis. “But it’s all volunteer work, so it’s really cheap employment.”

But the students said they can’t imagine anything being more gratifying.

Find out more about BUILD here: https://www.buildtamu.com/

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